“New Mission Presidents Receive Training,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 77–78
Saying to those in attendance that they were part of a great miracle, President Gordon B. Hinckley talked of ten gifts he would give new mission presidents.
President Hinckley and other General Authorities, including Presidents Thomas S. Monson and James E. Faust of the First Presidency, spoke to ninety new mission presidents and their wives during a weeklong training period held at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
“I never get over the fact that what we’re doing is in very deed a remarkable miracle: to send out young men and young women into a world that is unfriendly, generally, to their message, and to teach that world, and to have one here and another there listen and give attention,” said President Hinckley during his June 24 address.
“Oh, my brothers and sisters,” he continued, “[these] are the ten gifts which I would like to bless you with this morning as you come to the concluding day of this seminar: the gift of health and safety, the gift of leadership, the gift of wisdom, the gift of humility, the gift of patience, the gift of testimony, the gift of love, the gift of happiness, the gift of faith, and the gift of revelation. …
“We are among the ‘weak and the simple,’” he continued, referring to D&C 1:20–24. “We are not very professional, most of us, in this work. We’re ordinary people with ordinary capacities, who have been given an extraordinary assignment—to teach the gospel to the world, which will save the world, if people of the world will hearken unto the message we have to give.”
During his June 21 remarks, President Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the five M’s of missionary work: the message, the missionary, the mission, the member, and the mission president.
“The world hungers for that message,” President Monson said, which includes the Book of Mormon; the true nature of the Godhead; the Church, which is built on a foundation of Apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone; a living prophet; the plan of salvation; and the First Vision.
In speaking about missionaries, President Monson said that missionaries are called of God by prophecy and revelation. “The desire of a lifetime is a missionary call,” he noted. “Your missionaries should hear you bear testimony as soon as they arrive in the mission field.”
President Monson, who served as a mission president in Canada, said that each mission has its own history and tradition. He encouraged the mission leaders to help every missionary become a part of the mission history.
In speaking about the fourth M—the member, President Monson told mission presidents to work closely with members. “Each member district is a future stake,” he said. He also talked of the importance of referrals and open-house events. “Members and missionaries are on the same team,” he said.
President Monson told the mission presidents that they set the tone for the mission. “What you do, the missionaries will do,” he said. He emphasized that mission presidents and their wives are a team and should be models to follow.
In his June 23 address, President Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, told the leaders that missionaries should be “so in tune with the guidance of the Holy Spirit that every one of them can speak in the name of God as they witness and testify of the Savior.”
He talked about four things that he would like his sons and grandsons to learn from their mission experience: how to acquire a testimony of the Savior and understand the blessings of the Atonement, how to be honest in all relationships, how to have courage to teach eternal principles, and how to be obedient.
“I would hope my son’s mission president would teach from the scriptures,” President Faust said. “The value of testimony is profound. I used to make my living in the courtroom, and the testimony can never be impeached. It is ours; it cannot be contravened. It can be challenged, of course, but there is not any way it can be disproved because it is something that is unique and special to our minds and souls.”
President Faust observed that missionaries “must be honest with the Lord, whose servants they are. This is the overriding principle of everything.” Missionaries must be honest with their parents, mission presidents, and companions, he said.
“I would like my son to learn from his mission president to have courage in teaching eternal principles,” President Faust continued. “We are trying to build up Zion and establish the kingdom of God. Missionaries need to have courage to not be afraid of man.”
President Faust noted that the best missionaries are not always the smartest, but they are the most obedient. “Mission presidents nurture obedience by loving their missionaries,” President Faust pointed out.